When you’re freelance, modelling isn’t the endless game of dress-up that films and magazines like to show. (Hollywood? Glittercoating something? Surely not…) On a normal day in Roswell-land, with some notable exceptions there’s no stream of caterers, make-up artists rushing in to fix hairs out of place and designers adjusting the diamonds attached to me. There’s no fairytale whirlwind from which I emerge a princess, and usually I like it that way. (I prefer to be a knight…) :P
This is not to say that a full team (make-up artists, designers, assistants etc) cannot be fantastic to work with, just that it isn’t the norm for freelance models. We often have a greater hand in the creative process than agency models*. Of course we can work to a brief; there are plenty of shoots in which the photographer has a very clear idea of what s/he wants the final image to be and it’s our job to bring that idea to life- but for many bookings we do our own hair and make-up, pose freestyle and bring our own ‘shooting wardrobe’. “Just showing up and looking pretty” is not an option.
* If you want to read a hilarious account of life as an agency model, go and read Elyse Sewell’s old blog. She was the scientist in the first season of America’s Next Top Model.
I’m sponsored by a latex designer, a lingerie designer and a corsetiere so regularly have new one-off outfits to wear (in fact, I have some now…) but I have also updated my entire shooting wardrobe for 2016! If you’re a photographer and would like a booking or to enquire about what’s new, just send me a message here. Here’s a sneak peek though…
While the Hollywood game of nothing-but-dress-up is mostly an illusion, I almost always get to play characters when I shoot- even if they’re only in my head. Until recently, I was mostly known for my fetish and art-nude work but in the past year or so, I’ve noticed an increase in my fashion and beauty bookings. Being freelance, this means I usually do my own make-up and styling in collaboration with my sponsors.
I’ve been working with Orchid Corsetry for about six months now and spent last weekend in Shrewsbury with designer Beth, being fitted for the next pieces! I love looking around other peoples studios and Beth’s is a luxurious sweetshop of material and trimmings.
What Beth’s currently working on is a secret but we’re combining fashion and mythology as we both have a love of fairytales… ;) In fact, I’ve just finished a written tale of my own for submission to an anthology called “Damsels in Success”!
I promised some more flash fiction blogs so to accompany the pictures below (that I’ve been so excited to post) so here are some Once-Upon-A-Time-s for you. The more I looked at the pictures, the more I thought of characters you might find in Hollywood.
The photographer is Shannon Swift, who is one of the most inspirational and interesting women I have had the good fortune to work with.
Would you like to work with her? She’s running a photoshoot giveaway right now! The deadline is the 31st so get your applications in quick.
NON-WHITE MODELS OF ANY COLOUR OR RACIAL BACKGROUND, please listen up! Shannon is shooting a photo and video project featuring models from different racial backgrounds so if you’d like to work with her, drop her a message.
Corsets and lingerie: Orchid Corsetry
Crown, hair and make-up: Me
The Rising Star.
A thousand times upon a time, a young and beautiful woman made her living by pretending to be other people. This she did well, even in her own life. With every word said or movement made, she played a character as compelling as any whose shoes she stepped into for the sake of the camera. At first she gripped the crown she wore as though it might turn to smoke or slide off her head- it was borrowed, after all- but over time she learned to hold it as though she was certain it would remain hers forever- there would be no other girls afterward and people learned to believe her. Away in a locked room untroubled by the cameras, she shrugged off her character and laughed:
“It’s as simple as that! If we all just played this game, we’d all be fucking immortal!”
She laughed as though there would be no girls after her. She laughed like a fool.
The Fading Star
Once upon a time in a strange land, there was a woman who was thin. Much too thin- and yet there was more, for she was fat too. This woman was free, talented, troubled, disfigured, stunningly beautiful, disgraced, risen, repentant, not sorry in the slightest, and thin again. In fact, she was each of these things at one time or other- and all at once depending on who was telling her story. The only thing that the storytellers could agree on was that now she was fading.
There would always be options until the day came when nothing she could do would seem interesting. She sucked an ice cube and tightened her belt. Fruit, it had been decided, was an ornamental decoration only. Sugar was for other people. And so the golden apple sat in plain sight- a trinket for visitors to notice and her own private joke. She picked it up. It had been the only thing recovered from the accident and kept out of the media in exchange for a sum even the richest would mentally stagger over. For a whole ten minutes she told herself she was merely considering telling, but her mind had been made up for days. What was it they said? “If you can’t be famous…”
There are a lot of pets in Hollywood, but these ones aren’t the kind you want to get to know. They seem quiet, subdued, even a little skittish- but that’s just compared to their owners. Peacock-bright and beautiful, they are the ones you want to meet and touch. The pets fade into the background and nod yes.
“She’s lovely isn’t she?”
“May I speak to her?”
Here, pets manage their owners lives while thinking on their paws as they run to keep up. They know everything there is to know. They watch- some pets are guardians too. They understand when nobody else does, so they are told.
There are, of course, good owners and bad owners. Whether or not there are bad pets is not for me to say. But I’ll tell you this; when a pet turns on its owner, it is quite a thng to see…
The statue had been there for as long as the house had stood.
“Built in the nineteen-twenties!” she had heard a tour guide say, as though that was a mark of true venerability.
It was her good fortune, the statue supposed, that every one of the houses inhabitants had either found her charming or lived mostly in hotels, seldom visiting their own home. Still, things had crept in- palm trees, crystals from a famous medium, a pair of pink flamingoes that she scowled at but would miss if they were to be removed.
It was a bizarre state of affairs, the statue thought, that she should live in the place fairytales were manufactured and fantastical things happened every day but know better than to ever move.